Rangers, Dynamo Kiev Exit Champions League Soccer, Benfica Makes Playoffs
Scottish champion Rangers and former semifinalist Dynamo Kiev were eliminated from soccer’s Champions League in the third qualifying round.
Rangers lost 2-1 to Malmo over two matches following last night’s 1-1 draw in Sweden. Jiloan Hamad tied it with 10 minutes remaining after Nikica Jelavic put Rangers ahead in the 24th minute. The visiting team finished the game with nine men after Steven Whittaker and Madjid Bougherra were red-carded.
Rangers drops into the second-tier Europa League after failing to claim a spot in the group stages of Europe’s elite club competition for the first time since the 2008-09 season.
Dynamo, which reached the Champions League semifinals in 1999, lost 2-1 to Russia’s Rubin Kazan to go out 4-1 over two games. Norway’s Rosenberg was eliminated by tournament newcomer Viktoria Plzen, which won its first Czech league title this year.
Benfica, the first former European Cup winner to feature in this season’s competition, beat Trabzonspor 3-1 on aggregate to advance to the playoffs for a berth in the 32-team group stage.
The draw for the 10 playoff matchups will take place tomorrow in Nyon, Switzerland. The 15 winners from the third qualifying round will be joined by four-time European champion Bayern Munich, Arsenal, Lyon, Villarreal and Udinese.
Playoff first-leg matches are scheduled for Aug. 16-17, with the return games the following week.
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